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By ESPN Staff

Luiz: Blues ready for punishing fixtures

David Luiz has insisted Chelsea's players are ready to put their bodies on the line to guarantee a glorious finish to their season.

Chelsea are in the midst of a punishing schedule that has seen them play twice a week for the past month, something that will continue for at least another month yet.

Caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo has done his best to rotate his squad but defender Luiz has featured in all ten of the Italian's games in charge.

And he believes the only way to ensure a top-four finish in the Premier League, as well as success in the FA Cup and Champions League, is for Chelsea's players to go through the pain barrier.

He said: "Chelsea want to win all the competitions. I think we will put the best team against Tottenham, the best team against Barcelona.

"It's impossible to rest too much now. It's a short time between games because Chelsea compete in three competitions.

"Other teams have more time as they are not in the competitions. It's normal. We have the opportunity to win the FA Cup and the Champions League. This is football at the top level and we are prepared for the games.''

Luiz is close to winning over the critics that dogged him in his first year at Stamford Bridge.

Pundit and former Manchester United defender Gary Neville compared one of his performances earlier this season to someone being controlled by a ten-year-old using a PlayStation.

Brazil star Luiz, who cost the Blues £26 million from Benfica in January last year, said: "For me, it's normal. Gary Neville didn't play for Chelsea. Gary Neville played for Manchester United, no?

"I know Gary Neville in the past was a very good player but he sometimes needs (to show) respect.

"One sentence, sometimes, is not good but I am so confident in my life, in my football, and I am very, very happy because God has given me health.''

He added: "Football is important, but I have my family. I have a smile every day, I have very good people around me.

"People in the world, they are working too much and on the final day of the month, they receive just a little bit of money. I am very happy.

"I wrote on Twitter after this, 'Gary Neville, I love you'. It's normal. Gary Neville says bad things, other people say good. I just need to show with my work on the pitch. I respond like this.''

Luiz could be rested for tonight's game at Fulham, with captain John Terry reportedly ready to return after aggravating his cracked ribs in Wednesday's Champions League win over Benfica.

It is claimed Ashley Cole could miss out again with the ankle injury that saw him sit out Saturday's controversial win over Wigan.

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